What?! It’s mid November? Holidays are upon us! So I am madly working away in the shop to bump up my inventory and bust out custom orders. It’s always a busy time for me but I know that I get a rest in January. I recently pulled out some gorgeous chalcedony beads that I recently purchased from a gem dealer and began a small grouping of holiday party drop earrings (see below).
My husband and I have been cutting and polishing some wonderful and colorful green Wyoming jade in all sorts of shapes (pictured below in one of our first dustings of snow).
I’ve made a couple of one-of-a-kind groupings of Australian magnesite (below) and Peruvian pink opal pendants (pictured at top of this post).
Both the magnesite and pink opal were bought during the Tucson gem shows a couple of years ago and it’s been fun to finally use them. Each stone has it’s own little personality: the pink opals are a classic pure pink, girly and serene, and each piece of cream colored magnesite is totally unique with brown veins making an interesting and natural matrix.
Also, I recently made some hammered rings with different faceted gemstones. Mixing and matching colors.
As we head toward Thanksgiving, I hope your holiday season shapes up to be the best ever. Peace!
So I’m super excited about a new turn in my jewelry making. I’ve aquired some rock cutting equipment and am learning lapidary skills. I’ve always used regional turquoise from Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico and have been wanting to increase my regional offerings so last year I introduced jade sourced from Wyoming. To get hyper-local I figured I would be interesting to start cutting some of the stones I find while hiking here in my own county, Sublette County.
Sublette County is a huge piece of land and mostly public land. It’s amazingly beautiful and varied in geography. We have high sage-brush desert in the southern half of the county and large granite mountains in the north. A lot of the land was carved by glaciers during the ice age so there are large boulders and glacial moraines at the base of the high peaks of the Wind River Range. The desert used to be a vast ocean and is part of the Green River Formation. People find all sorts of cool fossils in Wyoming and Sublette County and south is no exception. If you go a little farther south from Sublette County you get to Kemmerer, Wyoming, a small town known for the Green River fossils, millions of little fish fossils (below is a photo of one I have in my kitchen) as well as palm fronds, prehistoric crocodiles and birds.
The jade in Wyoming is found in the center of the state near Lander and Casper and it varies in greens to pitch black that shines up like a mirror. I love the jade found here and this is especially one of the reasons I am beginning my lapidary journey; I want to cut unusual shapes for my jewelry. Besides jade we have quite a bit of interesting agate and jasper of varying patterns and colors. So now that the snow is melting I can go rockhounding with pals, what a good time.
(fossilized algae with the corner polished up)
By the way…an interesting thing about the word ‘lapidary’… it comes from the Latin word for rock: ‘lapis’. You hear ‘lapis’ used for Lapis Lazuli is a popular blue stone, often found in Afghanistan, and that name simply means Stone Blue (lazuli coming from the word ‘azure’).